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Solar Energy Major

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Solar Energy

28 Associates's Degrees Annually
#176 in Popularity (Associate's)
$46,010 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Solar Energy Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many solar energy technology/technician graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Basic Certificate 117
Undergraduate Certificate 33
Associate’s Degree 28

What Solar Energy Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to solar energy tech were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Solar Energy Tech Majors

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Solar Energy Tech Majors

When studying solar energy tech, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Troubleshooting - Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Abilities for Solar Energy Tech Majors

A major in solar energy tech will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Solar Energy Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with solar energy tech:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Electrical Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Electronics Engineering Technologists 5.2% $63,200
Solar Photovoltaic Installers 104.4% $42,680

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Solar Energy?

28 Associate's Degrees Annually
11% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major tends to be male dominated. About 89% of recent graduates are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of solar energy tech majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Solar Energy Tech Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 1
Black or African American 1
Hispanic or Latino 5
White 18
International Students 0
Other Races/Ethnicities 3

How Much Do Solar Energy Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Solar Energy Tech majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $46,010 to $65,720 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Solar Energy Major  ( 46010 to 65720 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with solar energy tech may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to solar energy tech have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 3.5%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 16.2%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 15.9%
Some College Courses 1.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 34.7%
Bachelor’s Degree 25.1%
Master’s Degree 4.1%

Online Solar Energy Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 65 schools offered some type of solar energy technology/technician program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 36 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 24 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 20 1
Bachelor’s Degree 2 1
Post-Baccalaureate 36 1
Master’s Degree 1 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Solar Energy Worth It?

The median salary for a solar energy tech grad is $46,010 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 15% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $122,200 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to solar energy tech.

Major Number of Grads
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Engineering Technology/Technician 6,462
Water Quality & Wastewater Treatment Management & Recycling Technology/Technician 1,594
Energy Management & Systems Technology/Technician 912
Environmental Engineering Technology/Environmental Technology 392
Hazardous Materials Management & Waste Technology/Technician 180
Other Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians 105

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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